July 23, 2008

Address change, and all the fun that goes with it

Since all the "big" administrative type of paperwork is taken care of in terms of me living in Amsterdam, I thought it was time to tackle all that little stuff - for example, officially changing my address from my friend's apartment to my new place. Everyone said "it's so easy, you can fill out the form online!"

So I did a google search and I find this page which points me in the direction of this form, which is only in Dutch. Not wanting to lose my momentum for Getting Shit Done, I ran down to my company's HR office and asked them for help with the translation.

Over an hour later, I was finally done. It was just stupid stuff that held up the process - I needed the full names of the residents of my old place (think about it, can you really say you know the last name of all your friends, and if so, can you really spell those names correctly?), a scan of my passport (but they wouldn't accept PDFs), my phone number... except wait, I just lost my phone... that added a few extra steps. But in the end it was all done, and if you have all your shit together, it really shouldn't take that long. My (Dutch) colleague told me she didn't have to take as many steps as I was taking to change her address, so I'm guessing this is a different process for foreigners. Either that, or because I didn't have my phone on me (so they can verify things via SMS), it just meant I had to provide more information.

Once this was all done I started trying to find Dutch classes to sign up for in August, but I haven't gotten terribly far with that. The University of Amsterdam classes are expensive, and the Volksuniversiteit doesn't offer anything until September (though they are a lot more affordable than UvA). I think I might start looking for private lessons. If anyone reading has a recommendation, I'm all ears.

Next up: replace my mobile phone, figure out why Telfort can't hook up my internet service at home, change my address with my bank, properly furnish my apartment, and buy tickets to Rome for late August (to visit my old roommate). Speaking of apartment furnishings, I've actually had some pretty good luck with Amsterdam's Craigslist and Freecycle. These sites don't seem to get very heavy traffic (especially compared to the New York City version), but within a few minutes of posting an ad on freecycle and responding to an ad on craigslist, I scored a free DVD player and have a few promising leads on couches and shelves. I'm also keeping my eyes peeled on the sidewalks, which is where I got two of my dining room chairs. There's also Marktplaats, which is mostly in Dutch (Freecycle is entirely in English, and craigslist is mostly in English). I wish I could just snap my fingers and have all this stuff magically take care of itself - but I just keep reminding myself: all the hard stuff is done.


frumiousb said...

Duh, I left this comment on your blog feed in lj!

What I said was:

You should be eligible (unless they changed the rules again) for free or subsidized Dutch classes throught he gemeente. It would be part of the integration initiative. You can call or visit your local stadsdeelkantoor to ask.

Another American Expat said...

oooh, thanks for the tip!

Breigh said...

First time visiting, found you through A Touch of Dutch. Shame I didn't find you sooner, we just gave away 2 sofas last week! Although we are in Rotterdam so that may have been a bit difficult :P

Moving is always fun, isn't it? Just make sure to change your address on EVERYTHING. We have been in our flat for over 8 years now but when we moved here we forgot to give a change of address to Wehkamp (one of the Sears type places here). A few years later when we were trying to get a mortgage to buy this flat (we had rented it previously) and we found out that we had bad credit!!!

When we inquired about it, it turned out that whoever had moved into our old apartment got a mail from wehkamp and had ordered about 2000 euros worth of stuff and never paid it. No communication that they sent out ever got to us so they threw it in collections.

I was LIVID!! Between Wehkamp and the police it ended up getting sorted out and taken off our credit but they said nothing could be done about the people who did it.

I got one of my neighbours who is a total thug to get a few of his friends and take me to my old flat and told them if it ever happened again I wouldn't be calling the police I'd be calling THEM (meaning the thugs hehe).

So yeah, send a change off address to everrrryyyone and make sure to follow up and make sure the got it.

Another American Expat said...

Hey Breigh, thanks for the advice. Luckily my old address is with good friends, and the only people who knew about it have been notified. I would love to avoid doing the whole change-of-address thing for the next few years!